December 28, 2005

She ain't Mookie-riffic for nothing!

For Christmas this year, daughter Rachael found a copy of the out-of-print book Retro Rockets: Experimental Rockets 1926-1941. I've already read the first half, which deals mostly with Robert Goddard and his remarkable series of liquid fueled rockets.

One tidbit that really caught my eye though was a brief discussion of German Alfred Maul, who was a civil engineer for the city of Dresden. He patented an early version of a photographic rocket in 1903 and was using an onboard gyroscope for rocket and camera stabilization by 1906. By 1912, he had developed a fully functioning recon rocket that boosted on solid fuel and took photographs from 2000 feet.

[It was] battle tested in the Turkish-Bulgarian War of 1912-1913. Anticipating today's reconnaissance satellites, it produced clear photographs of Turkish emplacements for the German-allied Bulgarian Army.

Some of these photographs still exists today.

Recon by rocket had advantages over using balloons, but the arrival of the airplane soon rendered the idea obsolete.

If you're into rockets or space technology, the Saturn Press books are excellent references.

And for some amazing modern-day rocket photography, check out Ray Dunakin's work, which I linked to here.

Posted by: Ted at 04:33 AM | category: Rocketry
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1 Cool present Ted!Nice score.I've got my eye on several things from Peter,too.Mainly a copy of that Scale Bash book and one of his Saturn 5 kits.I've been thinking of nabbing them both from Uncle Mike's Rocket Shack along with one of Klyde Morris' Saturn 5 kits.I'd like to grab a copy of the Spaceship Handbook he sells sometime but I'm not big on paying sixty bucks for a book.At least not now,anyhow.Finding a copy of his original Rockets of the World would be nice,too. As you can probably tell I've got a thing for the Saturns.The hands down winner for most totally bad assed machine ever built by man.When you can crack the throttle on yer ride in southern Florida and have it peg a half a Richiter on an earthquake meter in Vermont,ain't no doubt you've got the baddest ride on the planet.Anyhow,on the subject of Saturns,I had been watching E-bay for like a month looking for a fine example of the Revell 1/96 Saturn or the Estes 1/100 scale version.Never found either for under a hundred shipped.In some cases we're talkin' way way over a hundred.There's an idiot on there right now that thinks his Revell is worth $300 Buy Now price.Good luck fella!Am I disappointed?No!Let me tell ya that it pays to do your homework.After researching both of these kits it turns out that neither are prime examples of the subject.While the Estes has a few quirks the Revell is really bad.Most sources I checked recommended tossing about 95% of it and scratchbuilding with Real Space Models Command Module and LEV along with tubing from Plastruct and "wraps" from New Ware.Plus,from what I get through the grapevine Estes is getting ready to re-release the 1B in 1/70 scale next year some time.If that isn't cool enough then I know that Semroc is getting ready to release their own 1/70 Saturn 1B and Little Joe in 1/70.Besides that they are also gearing up repops of Estes' V-2 and the Mars Lander.Even if it weren't for all of these options there's still the Apogee Saturns.Very pricey but very nice.The Saturn 5's are dicontinued for now but they'll be back eventually.The mold for the interstage wraps warped for some reason.I'm on the notify list when they become available again.Hopefully I'll have the cash by then.BTW,did you check out Chan Stevens'at NARAM?His made me want one for sure. Also,speaking of Peter Alway I had a chance to chat with him for a while at NARAM-46.Great fellow.He came along and started setting up while I was standing there talking to the guy who owns Balsa Machine Services.We where freaking out on the ultra slick cuts that his new LASER cutter was making.Peter came over to say hello and I asked him if he and I had not had an online discussion about the old North Coast Shuttle kits.He said;"Maybe" and that was enough to get a conversation going.I never did tell him that a few minutes into the discussion I remembered that it was George Gassaway that I had had the Shuttle dicussions with.Oh well!It was a good log for the fire anyhow.Speaking of Shuttles I learned a bunch from talking to George about them.How much?Well,Ted,do you remember the Revell shuttle I bought at Battlepark?Do you remember asking if it was for a PMC?Do you remember that less than enthusiastic look on my face and how I wasn't laughing?I have George to thank for that reaction.I learned enough to know that I'll probably never try one unless maybe it's an Estes kit.That's a shame because those NCR kits looked to have a bunch of potential.PMC shuttles,however,are almost a sure bet for disaster.The Revell kit I bought has it's own set of problems not the least being the raised panel lines used to try and recreate the Shuttle's tiles.As you probably know there ain't a damb thing "raised" on the underside of the Shuttles.I had pondered totally sanding them off and meticulously scribing recessed lines into the bottom but when you look at the number and shape of the tiles that could become a full time job itself.As luck would have I actually found a company that makes a huge decal set of the tiles just for that particular model. Well anyhow I scored enough cash for Christmas to come off my miserly rocketeer thing for a while.I'll finally be able to place that order with BMS and land the stuff I need to go ahead with my Upscale BT-80 based Big Red Max.I already have the custom cone from Sandman and the excellent decals from Fred Talasco at Excelsior Rocketry.Besides that I've decided to build another Estes Broadsword from scratch to replace the one that I crashed years ago.I pulled it out of the dead rocket box recently and entertained the notion for a while of rebuilding.Instead I decided to just go with a whole new one so that I can give it the same motor mount setup as the Max.That would be a BT-70 motor mount with quick change motor configurations constructed from BT-70 coupler tubes.Tons of combos.Besides all of that I also have a hankerin' to do the Dragonship 7 and the Space Cruiser Excalibur from scratch.Plus,there's the Excelsior Goony Goblin,Nike-G,Christmas Goony,Quest DC-X and the Flis Tumbleweed that are waiting in the wings.They come next after I get done with the Estes 18 mm Spaceship One,the Fliskit Corona,Custom Rockets Aztec and the Excelsior Goony Bird Zero that I'm working on now.Somewhere in there I'll find time to restore my crashed Loc Forte' as well as lay the finishing touches on my Mountainside 4" V-2.Then to top it all off maybe I'll get around to the Estes Mercury Redstones(I found a hobby shop that has 30 in stock)and the 29 mm Estes Eliminators I have on the board.All that should be enough to keep me going through the summer.......ya think?

Posted by: Russ at December 28, 2005 11:02 PM (ObxzR)

2 You're right,Ray's photos are amazing.I have the 2/01 issue of HPR with one of his articles in it.His photo on the cover,too.

Posted by: Russ at December 28, 2005 11:04 PM (ObxzR)

3 I've got all those books you've mentioned. Santa's been very very good to me. Except for the Scalebash book, which I bought at NARAM in Muncie directly from Peter and he autographed it for me. Great references.

I'm going to get serious about my level 2 rocket here in the next week or so. I've decided to redesign since I've got some G10 to use for the fins, and my original plans (upscaled Yellow Jacket) won't work with the dimensions of the G10 I have. Since it's gonna be powered by a hybrid from Skyripper, I'm thinking about calling it Moooo-Gas.

Posted by: Ted at December 29, 2005 02:52 PM (blNMI)

4 Ted I know that wars have been started and small nations have been crushed for saying what I am about to say but......"I hate G10!"My PML Black Brant 5B has G10's.IMHO heavy as hell and not worth the weight.I'd go with glassed ply before I use G10 again.I do have to admit that they where plenty tough though.The two times I flew it I wound up shattering multiple fin fillets but the fins themselves survived just fine.Sadly the last flight was at a NOVAAR launch where it came down on a fence.Not only did it shatter the fillets on both sides of a fin but it also split the phenolic along a good deal of length.Too much to repair safely.It has a date with the ol' table saw so that I can salvage everything forward of the fins.Plus,I would have really liked to see the Yeller Jacket.That would have been extra cool to upscale.The Mooo-Gas sounds interesting,too.Can't wait to see it.I believe I once mentioned something about doing an upscale Max for an L2 if I ever got that far.Truth is that I would probably just do a Loc Magnum first and then risk the custom stuff after I figure out what I'm doing.I like the Magnums.Good combo of looks and utility.I think I would set it up to fly on different combos,too.Hybrid or AP in all sorts of configurations.I don't think I'd have the nads to pull a hybrid cert.Then again I don't know as much about them as you and Doug do.I'm still waiting for Doug to write that book!HEHEHE!!!!
Speaking of "glassed",the Estes Eliminator I mentioned before may be my first glassing project.I've even got this really weird idea about glassing the motor mount/stuffer tube/centering ring unit instead of the outside of the airframe.Just a thought to ponder,though.Max altitude just for the sake of it is the goal.Doing it fairly cheap is another.The Sport Rocketry article "A Mile High for Under $25" was a bit of inspiration.Who knows what won't develope from there.A serious altitude record attempt?Given the alt numbers on the books I'd say it's a long shot but being a drag racing fan I should know better.Now,if we can just get Aerotech to churn out some more F-10's and some G-20's.... Another long shot.Plus,about glassing,one way or another I've gotta get some good glassing experience that will eventually lead up to carbon fibering my VB Extreme 54 that I have recently decided not to sell after all.It's just too nice of a kit to wanna part with.Good for cutting my teeth in electronics,too.One way or another the ultimate goal for that bird is to go up on a K-250.Aerotech is reintroducing them again.I wonder what the chances are of talking Mike into applying for one of those 35,000 ft. windows like they used to do?
Well,there I go yappin' off again!One last happy note before I go.After many,many moons(too many)I can finally say that my Mountainside Hobbies 4" V-2 is finally finished!The removable bulkhead setup looks great.This will allow me to add and subtract weight from the nose in the form of washers.I have yet to weigh it but if it comes in at under three pounds I may go with a G-64.If not then I may have to catch up my NAR dues and go for an L1 cert.

Posted by: Russ at December 30, 2005 03:23 AM (ObxzR)

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